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Ascension Public Schools' state finalists at all three levels, from left, are Sorrento Primary's Barrett Petite, Dutchtown Middle's Shrey Shah and St. Amant High's Ephraim Craddock.

Three Ascension Parish students are finalists in Louisiana Department of Education's Students of the Year contest, it was announced Friday.

Ascension public schools has state finalists at all three levels: Sorrento Primary's Barrett Petite, Dutchtown Middle's Shrey Shah and St. Amant High's Ephraim Craddock.

"We are so excited for Barrett, Shrey and Ephraim, and we join with their families in expressing our pride in this accomplishment. This recognition speaks to the impacts that these students have made not only in academics but also beyond the classroom and our school buildings," said schools Superintendent David Alexander. "This is certainly a historic moment for Ascension Parish in having state finalists at all three levels, and we wish them well moving forward in the process."

Finalists were selected among Student of the Year winners from schools and districts across the state. Students are selected based on criteria that measure academic achievement, leadership skills, character and service to their schools and communities. Before selecting the three state winners on April 19, the state selection committee will conduct interviews and review writing samples and a portfolio from each finalist.

Fifth grade Student of the Year state finalist

Barrett, the son of Desiree and Blaine Petite, is an active member of the 4H club, Mudbug News Crew and the BETA club. He plays baseball and football and is an active participant in his church community.

Barrett was nominated to attend the Junior National Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C., where he will join other future leaders in public speaking, teamwork and leadership development. He enjoys working with his family on their farm and raising animals. He is in the district's talented and gifted program and has maintained honor roll status since the first grade.

Eighth grade Student of the Year state finalist

Shrey, the son of Neelesh and Nairuta Shah, has activities and accomplishments both in school and out, including membership in the BETA Club, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports student committee and Student Council. Shrey also founded the Dutchtown Middle School Rubik’s Cube Club, has helped raise money for local animal shelters and food pantries, and participated in fundraisers to benefit his school. He is a member of the science club, track and field team and soccer team.

Outside of school, Shrey participates in multiple organizations, including Ascension Flight soccer club, Rubik’s cube club and Jambalaya Park Swim Dolphins. He maintains a 4.0 GPA and tutors younger students in math and reading. Shrey's parents are immigrants from India, and he embraces his culture, loves to celebrate its various festivals and shares his culture with those around him. He speaks three different languages: Hindi, Gujarati and English.

12th grade Student of the Year state finalist

Craddock is the son of Christian and Jacquelyn Craddock. He has served and is serving as vice president for Student Council, wrestling team captain, chapter secretary for the National Honors Society and chapter president of DECA. He serves as District III Student Council treasurer and as a group leader for leadership workshops. He was also chosen to represent St. Amant High School at Louisiana Boys State this past summer.

A four-year member of Mu Alpha Theta, Craddock has been in the BETA Club, is a member of the marching and symphonic bands, and has participated in football and track. He founded a club on campus called Greater Gators, which focuses on exploring techniques and strategies for self-improvement and sharing this information with the community. In addition, he started a tutoring service through which he teaches effective study habits in addition to academic subject content. He said it has been especially rewarding to work with middle school students with learning disabilities.

He has dedicated his time volunteering and assisting within the community with countless endeavors, but several of his achievements are tied to his work in the Boy Scouts of America. He is troop chaplain and has been patrol leader for several years for Troop 76, in which he earned many awards, including the rank of Eagle Scout.

His current grade-point average is 4.6, and he passed four Advanced Placement tests. He is a National Merit semifinalist, and earned a composite score of 35 on the ACT and perfect scores of 36 on the math and science subtests.

Craddock recently signed a letter of intent to wrestle at the University of Chicago, where he plans to study molecular engineering.